A photo of Abdulahi Hasan Sharif shared with Postmedia by the woman he lived with for more than year. Sharif is charged in the 2017 Edmonton truck attack.
The man accused of attacking a police officer with a knife and mowing down pedestrians along Jasper Avenue in a truck has been given one more week to find legal representation or have counsel appointed heading into a four-month jury trial.Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, 32, refused to retain the assistance of senior lawyer Greg Lazin, who flew in from Victoria, B.C., for the proceedings Wednesday afternoon in Edmonton. Lazin attempted to meet with Sharif twice at the Edmonton Remand Centre last week to discuss the case, but Sharif refused to see him.Sharif, facing 11 charges including five counts of attempted murder for the Sept. 30, 2017 attacks, fired his two lawyers in March three weeks into the pretrial voir dire. Legal Aid Alberta was brought in to find a new lawyer as Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Paul Belzil instructed, not willing to move the trial dates scheduled to start at the end of September.Standing in the prisoner’s box Wednesday with his hands grasping the side, Sharif didn’t accept the service of 36-year legal veteran Lazin, insisting he wants to find his own lawyer. Sharif spoke to the court through an interpreter who was translating the proceedings into Somali.Sharif said he wants the opportunity to choose his own lawyer as he has done in the past, but doesn’t have anyone specific in mind to represent him. Whoever is selected will be the fourth lawyer to represent Sharif since his court proceedings began. Tom Engel and Samantha Labahn were terminated in March and Sharif was previously represented by Karanpal Aujla.Sharif’s partner sent a letter to chief Crown prosecutor Shelley Bykewich earlier this month saying he is refusing to accept her help to obtain legal counsel and she is concerned he doesn’t understand the severity of the charges. Sharif was found fit to stand trial in January.“I’m not prepared to tolerate unnecessary further delays here,” Belzil told Sharif. “You have to co-operate. We are at the end of April and you don’t have a lawyer.”Belzil is giving Sharif until next Thursday to find a lawyer or he is prepared to hear an application from the Crown to have counsel appointed to represent him so the trial isn’t delayed.“I’m going to give you one more chance to get a lawyer,” he told Sharif.The trial is scheduled to run until the end of January 2020 if firstname.lastname@example.org/dustin_cook3Listen to our Canadian news podcast, 10/3